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South Africa farmers seek $220m to manage drought

AgriSA boss, Omri van Zyl has described the crisis as a national emergency

Kathleen Ndongmo

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Photo: Shutterstock

South Africa’s agricultural industry body, AgriSA is seeking to raise 3 billion rand ($220 million) to help farmers hit by severe drought.

Agrisa’s Executive director;  Omri van Zyl said the Industry body will approach banks, agribusiness and government for the fund.

 Following an El Nino-induced drought in 2015, farmers in most parts of South – Africa have faced dry conditions in the past one year.

“We have basically reached a point now where we don’t have any more fat in the system. There is no buffer any more in the agricultural sector,” AgriSA boss, Omri van Zyl told reporters.

Van Zyl said the group will also speak to the government’s National Disaster Management agency to get access to the contingency reserves.

 He further described it as a national emergency which will impact directly on consumer prices

The droiught is also taking a toll on livelihood as a survey of producers showed that 31,000 jobs and 7 billion rand ($510 million) in potential revenue were lost since January last year because of the drought.

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Business

Airport authorities seize 342 kilos of lion bones in Johannesburg

The contents of the crates, destined for Malaysia, were misdeclared

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SA Airport authorities seize 324 kilos lion bones

South African officials have seized 342 kilos of lion bones – prized in Asia for their supposed medicinal values and to make jewellery – at Johannesburg airport and arrested three people, the environment ministry said Thursday.

The contents of the crates, destined for Malaysia, were misdeclared, a statement said. “When the shipment was inspected, 12 boxes of lion bones wrapped in aluminium foil and weighing 342 kg were discovered,” it said.

Ministry spokesman Albi Modise said although the export of bones of lions bred in captivity was legal, a special permit was required to send them out.

He said all those arrested were foreigners – including two Zimbabweans. One suspect remains in custody. South Africa is home to more than 11,000 lions, of which 3,000 live in national parks where hunting is forbidden.

In September last year, Singapore Airlines – the only carrier transporting lion bones from South Africa to Asia – said it was ending the practice.

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Central Africa News

Gabon ready to receive funds to fight deforestation

Norway to give Gabon, which is almost 90 percent covered by forest, with $150 million to battle deforestation

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Gabon to receive funds to protect forests

Gabon will become the first African country paid with international funds to preserve its forests in an effort to fight climate change, the United Nations said Sunday.

Norway will provide Gabon, which is almost 90 percent covered by forest, with $150 million to battle deforestation, according to the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), which the UN launched to bring together the region’s nations with Western donors.

The “historic” 10-year deal will be awarded to Gabon for “both reducing its greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation, and absorption of carbon dioxide by natural forests,” CAFI said in a statement.

Read: Ex-Gabonese MP gets 6 years sentence over electoral violence

The announcement comes ahead of a major UN climate summit on Monday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called to ask countries to raise their greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Gabon, first African country to receive funding to battle deforestation
Gabon’s national parks agency is bringing hi-tech to the equatorial forests of central Africa in a bid to save thousands of elephants from well-drilled and armed poachers. The authorities are waging virtual war on the lucrative ivory trade and the poachers who come from neighbouring Cameroon and Congo, driving deep into Gabonese land in militarised columns with shooters, trackers and porters. (Photo by Handout / ANPN / AFP)

Gabon has been a leader in Central Africa in preserving its rainforests, creating 13 national parks since 2000 that cover around 11 percent of the country.

Read: Experts converge in Accra to tackle water, energy challenges and explore sustainability, renewal options

It has around 12 percent of the Congo Basin forest, the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest, and is home to almost 60 percent of the surviving forest elephants in Africa, which CAFI said was “a key indicator of sound natural resource governance”.

A major scandal involving a huge haul of illegally logged Kevazingo, a tropical hardwood, led to the vice president being sacked, and British-born environmental campaigner Lee White being appointed forestry minister.

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Business News

Republic of Congo receives funds to protect rainforest

The Republic of Congo is taking a major step towards protecting its valuable rainforest.

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Republic of Congo to save Rainforest

The Republic of Congo is taking a major step towards protecting its valuable rainforest.

The country’s President, Denis Sassou N’Guesso formally signed up for the Central African Forest Initiative and put the country in a position to receive up to $97 million to protect the rainforest better and fight climate change.

The programme’s financing is provided by a coalition of donors: the European Union, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

During the G-7 summit in August, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to help sub-Saharan African countries fight fires raging in the area.

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